Creativity in a copyright-less world

1 minute read

Apparel design is too utilitarian to qualify to copyright protection.
Because there’s no copyright protection in the fashion industry there’s a very open and creative ecology of creativity.

— Johanna Blakley (2010) “Lessons from fashion’s free culture” at TED

Fashion world don’t have any copyright protection, because “apparel is an utility”. There’s just trademark protection.

I didn’t know this, but to me this is really interesting and impressive by itself because it means that while some industries are trying to enforce strict laws… others are thriving exactly thanks to the same things the other industry wants to deny!

Tom Ford: And we found after much research that, actually not much research, quite simple research, that the counterfeit customer was not our customer.

Johanna Blakley: Imagine that. The people on Santee Alley are not the ones who shop at Gucci. (laughter)

Also, very interesting thing about jazz:

And that actually reminded me of jazz great, Charlie Parker. I don’t know if you’ve heard this anecdote, but I have. He said that one of the reasons he invented bebop was that he was pretty sure that white musicians wouldn’t be able to replicate the sound. He wanted to make it too difficult to copy.

But that would be just a few nice words… where’s the money? Well. First of all, here a few industries without copyright protection:

  1. Recipes
  2. Automobiles
  3. Furniture
  4. Magic tricks (no wonder they’re so secretive!)
  5. Hairdos
  6. Tattoos (“It’s not cool”)
  7. Jokes
  8. Fireworks
  9. Rules of games
  10. Smell of perfumes

And then the money: this is a screenshot from that video.

The text is small, but it just says that le left bars have low IP (intellectual property) protection, while the right ones (music, books, films, etc) have hight IP protection.


Even if maybe that isn’t the only factor playing in those sales, the whole Johanna Blakley video is still making a few strong points. Watch it.

Thanks to Lawrence Oluyede and Sara Lando (in italian).